Watchdog condemns TV3 over 'dishonest' quiz show
Published 27/01/2010 | 05:00
THE broadcasting watchdog has upheld a string of complaints from angry viewers who claimed that a late-night quiz show on TV3 was "misleading, dishonest and unfair".
Among the complaints made against 'Play TV' were that viewers were misled that there was a €32,000 jackpot up for grabs, when the eventual winner won a prize of only €1,000.
The complaints committee of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) upheld 10 complaints against 'Play TV' but rejected a further three.
One viewer, Mark Nagle, told how he spent nearly €20 calling the show -- at €1.50 a time -- to answer a riddle correctly, but was never given the chance to answer the puzzle on screen.
Each time, he was informed by a recorded voice that he was "very close" to having his call answered by the studio and to "please try again". The call was then disconnected.
Mr Nagle said that during the 15 minutes he was repeatedly calling the show, not one call was answered on air, so his calls were not being blocked by others. A winner was only heard on air in the show's last seconds.
In its response, TV3 said an on-screen ticker made it clear to viewers that more than one call might be required to get through to the presenter live on air.
It added that since May 2009 the programme had given out €400,000 in prize money.
The station also claimed that the format of using a premium-rate telephone line and answering a question was used by a large number of other shows and cited RTE's 'The Late Late Show' as an example.
However, the BAI found that there was a "fundamental difference" between the two as on the 'Late Late' a winner was selected at random, whereas on 'Play TV' a random selection determined whether a viewer got to participate or not.
Another viewer, Gerry Brennan, told how he entered a quiz in which a photo was shown of the Irish soccer team and the audience was asked to "add all the numbers in the picture".
However, the right answer, 389, was achieved through counting Roman and Arabic numerals, which were also visible. The BAI said the presentation of the quiz was misleading.
Meanwhile, three complaints were upheld against Newstalk's 'The Wide Angle' over its biased coverage of the Lisbon Treaty referendum on September 13.
It was found to have given a "one-sided viewpoint" and prominence to the 'Yes' side after it failed to include a 'No' campaigner on its discussion panel.